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Service Magic and Angie's List

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by IHA Services, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. fannin76

    fannin76 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 137

    I hate craigslist but it is an advertising tool.....but you have to compete with everyone with a push mower and pick up who works for cigs and beer
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    Actually, no you don't. We don't even try to compete at that level.
  3. fannin76

    fannin76 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 137

    I'm just saying everyone and their brothers on there. And this is my second season so I do try to utilize every avenue possible.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    I haven't been logged on in a while but see that this thread has been active.

    I also see that others are seeing what I'm beginning to see with Angie's List - you are a money making tool for THEM. ;)

    Hey, it's a business - what else should you expect?

    They call and call, and call. "We'd love to get you on the front page!"

    How much?
    It's only $399 for blah, blah, blah...
    Sorry, it's the end of the season and money is getting tight
    Oh, I understand, but this will lock you in at this year's rate and you can hold off until spring to start advertising - can we get your "OK" to get this started?
    No, I can't afford it at this time.
    OK, I understand, let me talk to my manager and see what I can do and give you a call tomorrow.
    (next day)
    "Hi Oaknut! This is James, I'm Brian's manager and we'd love to get you on that front page - what would be a price you think is fair?"
    Really, I can't afford this right now. I asked about targeting specific areas - can we do that?
    No, I'm sorry, the advertising has to display in your entire service area.

    (Well, I'm not interested in AL members in CRAP neighborhoods)
    No thanks.

    ( the next day - ring ring)
    This is James again. I'm gonna give you that advertising package for $99. Can we get your OK to set that up for you in the spring?
    No thanks.

    I was pretty ticked. I understand the whole "salesman" crap, but I'm mad that they would have charged me $400 for something they ultimately offered up for $100.

    I've been reviewed/listed for the last 2 years - Super Service Award (Yeah, sounds impressive, but not THAT hard to achieve) winner.
    I doubt 'll ever advertise with them.

    NOW if you want your award, you must submit to a background check. I haven't agreed to it yet - not that I'm some sleazeball, but where does it end? At what point does Angie's List "own" you? The more you submit to their requirements and jump through their hoops, the more they control YOU.
    I never asked to be reviewed. I'm grateful to those who have submitted reviews, but I resist saying that I'm grateful for Angie's List.
  5. fannin76

    fannin76 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 137

    I've never used Angie's list but she looks like a b itch in her commercials
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    I got a call for an estimate yesterday. "I saw all your great reviews on Angie's List..."

    She wanted a weekly mowing quote, so I went to look today. Typical smallish size for the area, but no access to the back for anything but a 21" mower, so I had to factor in extra time. I figure it would take about 30-35 minutes to do the whole thing.

    I called back to give her a quote of $36. "Oh, well I was paying $25, so that's a pretty big increase." (blah blah blah)


    I didn't bother asking if they were a legitimate outfit, but I seriously doubt it.

    Not all Angie's List members are interested in your good work and excellent service - some are cheap just like the Craigslist callers.
  7. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    that's true but the law of avg's says AL customers are a higher paying group as a whole.
  8. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    Maybe. Although anyone with $35 can join for a full year, so it's not exactly exclusive to those with money to spend.
    I've gotten several calls from AL members in pretty crappy areas.

    While most are looking for someone they can trust to do good work, some are willing to pay for that benefit - some not so much.
  9. grassmonkey0311

    grassmonkey0311 LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD/NC
    Messages: 3,011

    I think all these are crap and I distance myself as far away from them as possible. But its hard to compare a review website vs a lead generating website.

    AL uses strong arm mafia tactics to get what they want. Same with Yelp. The info is all over the internet.



    http://angies-list.pissedconsumer.com/angie-s-list-is-a-scam-20100807192837.html <<<<<<Read the comments on this one

    Here are 2 about Yelp. The first one has some great info and updates on Yelp being sued.



    ServiceMagic/HomeAdvisor/whatever-name-is-next generates leads for you, but needs YOUR $$$$ to keep their site going. Like Facebook, they rely on your $$$ to make them money. Lets do a quick rundown:

    Lets say my wife is nagging me about a bathroom renovation. I finally cave in and wonder how much it costs. So insteaad of googleing people, I just go on service magic. I type in what I want, and BOOM! Within minutes I've got all these people calling me. Almost as if it were a race to get my business. But guess what? It is (I'll explain why later). So after talking to a few, I set up appointments, they come over and submit quotes. All are out of our price range and we decide to look elsewhere.

    Now, looking at it from a business point of view, you had a giant waste of time. You spent money on a lead that turned up bad, gave money to service magic for their leads and they keep sending you bad leads. But worst of all, you and a few other contractors all got the same lead. You all raced to the phone to get in contact with them first. You were beat out and lost. If you had been the first to call, your chances of getting the project were much higher. But was the customer serious about getting the project done or were they looking for a general "ballpark" figure on what it cost? Now lets say most other landscapers and lawn services in your area didn't sign up with them, well, you have a better shot at getting the job. But if Juan, Carlos, and Hector Gomez all signed up, well, your SOL.

    There are other lead generating sites, like Thumbtack, where you pay per lead. If the potential customer doesn't look at your quote, you get your money back. This is a far better deal. But I have found most customers on thumbtack use it to start a bidding war and the cheapest price wins. Last year I put a bid in for a lead. I requested more info from the cutomer (she waned mulch and shrubs trimmed) so I did a visit. I met with the lady the next day, got a quote and told her the price. Her jaw dropped. She said she didn't know it was going to be that expensive. I must have been comparable to her other quotes because a year later it still wasn't done. Just registering and creating my profile has helped my SEO, which is always a plus.

    Craigslist can generate some bad customers. But you have to set yourself apart from your competitors. Make your ad different. Make key points on why your customers like you, or what you do better. Best of all, its free.
  10. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    grassmonkey, thanks for posting those links.

    Like most "online reviews", those were scattered with nonsense claims by people who are either lying, or don't understand how things work, but many were spot-on.

    Having dealt with AL for a few years now, and after having read a bit more, I'm less and less comfortable being associated with them. I think the worst part as a business owner is that you have no input on whether you want to be a part of AL or not - if someone reviews you - there you are. (like it or not)

    Once you're "reviewed", then they start the sales pitch. Oh, sure - new clients will come your way as a result, but I'm already seeing where it can bite you in the rear for being "listed".

    I've decided to decline their Super Service Award that I mentioned above. I'm not going to jump though their hoops and buy into their hype of paying to be "on the first page".
    I've had 5 calls from them in the last 3 weeks - I just let it go to voicemail. The only reason they have ever called is to try and sell me advertising.

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